October 13, 2007 |
I have been on a trend towards reviewing “new age” user engagement by rather traditional companies this weekend. So, along those lines I thought our readers would like to see how making this transition should be done. Nike+ is a nitro powered company site that is approaching 32 million members in its online community. The Nike+ site and features illustrate how Web 2.0, traditional companies and user/customers can be subtly and effectively integrated.
As far as coolness goes Nike+ makes a Web site about as appealing as most of the athletic gear. I was turned on to this site while reading a New York Times article earlier today. In this article the author outlines a particular runner tracking his progress via his iPod and the Nike+ site. A small sensor in the runner's show tracks his progress and the runner then just docs the iPod to upload the data to Nike+, just how cool is that?
New Age Niche Communities
I just did a post about a widget designed for Nivea that was a rather uncoordinated (Scooby) effort to engage people in the same way. Niche advertising and marketing is nothing new, but the fine details of how this should be done would appear to be important. Everything connected with this Nike site is useful if not seemingly essential for members. From custom toolbar widgets (and simple ones with purpose) to challenges, community and gear – the Nike+ site exudes simplicity and purpose. Nike+ is not a Web 2.0 type community per se, but the way their forums and challenges engage their customers and visitors is pure Web 3.0. This is the evolution of the way businesses do business in my view. The difference between Nike and Nivea's approach is – a tool versus a notifier – right versus wrong.
From Nike+ My runs
Second view from Nike+ runs
What's The Big Deal?
For a year we have written about traditional media and companies migrating to Web 2.0. This migration has hopped and skipped and sometimes flowed onto the Internet with increasing regularity. This is no news really, as the Web is the most cost efficient and soon to be prevalent medium of communication we have. Trevor Edwards, Nike's VP for global brand and category management reflected Nike's “new” vision for advertising: “We're not in the business of keeping the media companies alive,” Mr. Edwards says he tells many media executives. “We're in the business of connecting with consumers.” Nike spent 55 percent of its ad budget on TV networks 10 years ago – last year they allotted only 33 percent. The big deal is – Nike is now its own media network for engaging consumers.
Right or wrong companies now have the capability to reach out in ways unimaginable and extremely efficiently using the Web. Nike's new vision of advertising involves engagement without interruption. By finding ways to enhance consumers' experiences (as in the way cool shoe tracking gadget) companies can actually wow their faithful with technology and value and sell stuff. The top 25 ad spending companies cut their ads by $767 million last year and another $446 million in the first half of this year. New age strategies like Nike+'s and those we have yet to see will add great value to users. The down side might reflect diminishing ad revenue on some of the major sites however, as larger advertisers figure new and effective ways to follow Nike+. The bottom line for many companies will be ingenuity and the proper application of technology focused on niche communities.
Nike+ simple widgets